First up: sorry. Affiliate links. I know people don’t like them, but in this case they’re for a company I was recommending to people anyway, and you get a big discount using these links. Still, sorry for affiliate linking: the affiliate link is fairly obvious below and if you really don’t like them you can search and go direct to the host.
Anyway, I’ve had a few discussions with people recently with regard hosting, and I’ve moved around various hosts lately for different projects. Here are some of the ones I’ve been using:
Cloud Artisans: http://www.cloudartisans.co.uk/
These are my go-to hosts for smaller sites. Affordable, reliable and local, with great customer service and really good uptime. Solid. Hosting is on the cloud, which means capacity is easy to add.
Unlimited Web Hosting: https://www.unlimitedwebhosting.co.uk/
Until recently, I was using Cloud Artisans for VPS hosting as well as small sites; they’ve moved away from VPS hosting themselves and now recommend Unlimited Web Hosting. UK-based, great support, affordable VPS hosting, with a nice up to date Plesk control panel making it really easy to add and manage sites. SSL certificates through them as well: easy to set up and support was again really helpful.
Amazon Web Services (AWS): https://aws.amazon.com/?nc2=h_lg
A much more technical solution, but great for hosting little functional (rather than public facing) stuff like web services. If you don’t use it much you can get free hosting for PHP stuff with proper shell access and the ability to take snapshots for quick testing and setup. Really, really good for testing stuff or for doing API-based things which don’t take up much server time. If you’re running a website on AWS, though, make sure you’ve got something like CloudFlare filtering out spammy/hacky visitors, because it becomes very easy to DDOS the lower tier accounts.
Yes, this is the affiliate link:
It’s dedicated WordPress hosting with a lot of really great features, especially useful if you’re not as technical (or if you are but your clients aren’t!).
It’s fast, very secure – security is a real focus, so there are a couple of plugins and functions you won’t be able to use – and incredibly well supported. One of the best bits, though, is the single click staging version, which allows you to create a snapshot of your site to use as a staging version so you can test changes before rolling them out.
It might not be the cheapest hosting out there, but that’s for a reason: the cheapest hosting out there is generally rubbish. You get more than enough space to run a decent sized site, incredible support and can be absolutely sure that (assuming you’re not sending your password out to everyone!) security is top notch. You can also get some good deals if you look for voucher codes or come to affiliates like me (if the above offer is expired, get in touch, and I can share the latest deal).
For developers who don’t like doing server admin (and I count myself among them) WP Engine is absolutely the way to go.